Habs vs Leafs Recap: 600 And Counting
Montreal vs. Toronto: 600 And Counting
Montreal Wins 4-1
Six Hundred Wins: The year was 1986 and the team was the St. Louis Blues. Jacques Martin was a rookie head coach coming off a Memorial Cup win with the Guelph Platers of the OHL. Now, over 25 years later, he has his 600th win. Over the years he has won four division titles and one President’s trophy but the only time his name has been engraved on the Stanley Cup was as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche.
Thirty-Eight Wins: Carey Price, with his one goal allowed standout performance tonight, earned his 38th win of the season. The win gave Price the most wins for a Canadiens' goaltender since Ken Dryden in the seventies. Carey was recently awarded the Molson Cup for the season, and should be nominated for the Vezina trophy. Will he, or should he, however, be nominated for the Hart?
Sixth Place: By beating the Leafs, the Habs secured sixth place, which means a playoff match up with the Boston Bruins. I don’t need to go into all the story lines, sub plots and so called extra motivation that the players have for this series. This will be the fourth series between the teams in the past ten years and Montreal holds a 24-8 edge in the past 32 series played. Game one and two will be played in Boston on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
16-4-1: If only the schedule maker was a Montreal Canadiens fan. Well maybe he is, because with tonight’s win over the Leafs, the Habs record on Saturday nights is an absurd sixteen wins with only four losses and one overtime loss. Let’s all hope that all meaningful playoff games are played on Saturdays the rest of the way.
82 and 29: Brian Gionta scored two power play goals tonight taking his team leading total to 29. He also played in his 82nd game making him the only Hab to play every game this season. There is no argument that Carey Price has been the best Hab this season and P.K. Subban has generated the most buzz but it’s been only Brian Gionta who has been the steadiest. Not only has he stepped up his game when needed but he has always been the first one in front of the microphone in good times and bad. He has acted like a true captain. Now if only he could learn French!
15 Goals: The great Guy Lapointe scored fifteen goals in the 1970-71 season as a rookie defencemen. P.K. Subban needed one more goal to tie Guy, but unfortunately couldn’t get one past James Reimer. P.K. didn’t seem disappointed after the game and was just happy to come out with a win in his hometown. Let’s all hope he can have a career like Guy.
Plus 24 Minus 31: It’s hard not to keep talking about P.K. but this stat is totally mind boggling. After the win tonight, he is a plus 24 in all the Habs’ victories and a minus 31 in all their defeats. I’ll let you chew on that one for a second because all that shows is that after Carey Price, P.K. might be the most important Canadien out there.
7:27, 10 shifts, No Front Tooth and 2 Bumps On The Head: That’s all it took for Ryan White to make his impression on tonight’s game and what an impression it was. The first goal of the night, his second, in the first period to take the lead and a fight shortly there after against Mike Brown was all that the game and the Habs needed. If coach Martin didn’t play him the rest of the way it would have been fine with all the Habs fans because White did his job. He quieted the crowd early on with his goal and then got the bench going while absorbing some punishment from Brown. Did he win the fight? Probably not. But he did get two nice golf balls growing from his forehead while sitting in the box.
Twenty-Nine Games and Counting: It has been 29 games without a goal for Scott Gomez. Need I say more?
First Games: Matt Frattin and Joe Colburne played their first games in the league tonight. Not only did they get to play at home in front of their parents they also got to play the Montreal Canadiens. Frattin had over fifteen mintues of ice time with Colburne getting over eighteen. Both including Nazem Kadri where easily he best Leafs on the night. All three showed their skating and puck handling ability on a night where the Leaf veterans decided to save their hands for the golf range in the morning. Colburne recorded his first assist on Phil Kessel’s 32nd of the year. Does this make Colburne a shoe-in for the number one center role next year? Will Brad Richards stay in Dallas?
The Game - Dull: After the first period, the game itself was a very lackluster affair. Adding to Ryan White’s and Brian Gionta’s goals, Tomas Plekanec scored his 22nd and his team leading 57th point. Ryan White’s first period tussle with Mike Brown really seemed to shut the Leafs down for the night. It was simply a tale of the Leafs veterans not really caring to play tonight. They didn’t show up and it was only the play of the rookies Colburne, Frattin and Kadri that gave their supporters something to smile about. Yes there were some big saves by both goaltenders but after Kessel closed the gap midway through the first period the Leafs never looked as they wanted the win. Dion Phaneuf led all skaters with over 29 minutes of ice time but really looked like he was just waiting for the final siren.
It was a good win for the Habs to keep their momentum going into the playoffs and also to stay away from playing the Philadephia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. The three stars of the game tonight were Gionta, Price and White. For his 600th win Jacques Martin couldn’t have asked for any more effort from his players. The team left Toronto with no further injuries and the knowledge that playoffs start in five days. Carey Price now realizes that Jaroslav Halak isn’t sitting behind him and that even with 38 wins and a Molson Cup if he doesn’t play up to his ability the boo birds will be out in force and it will be a very short second season for the Canadiens.
May 4, 2004: The date of the last playoff game the Toronto Maple Leafs played. Let’s not add more fuel to the fire.
7-0: The box score the last time the Bruins and Canadiens met in the famous Max Pacioretty revenge match. The Habs were thoroughly outplayed in every facet of the game that night, but that was only their second loss this season to the Bruins, having beaten them four times. So what stays in a player’s memory longer? A bad beatdown or the overall record?
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Shahab Khan (the Schoolboy)